Just Say the Word!

Ever since its establishment in 2013 with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has had its fair share of ups and downs with its films. But now, DC is back to fill in the gap between the release of the new Marvel films Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame with Shazam! The film tells the story of Billy Batson, a 15-yearold foster kid that is miraculously discovered by a wizard and is crowned “champion” by saying the word “shazam,” taking on the hero’s mantle. Shazam! stars Zachary Levi (Tangled), Jack Dylan Grazer (It) and Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and is directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle Creation). My expectations were relatively low due to DC’s recent track record. They have only managed to make one relatively good film, that being Wonder Woman, up until this point. But judging from the promising trailers and marketing for Shazam!, this one seemed to be heading towards the lighthearted and comedic route instead of DC’s usual dark and gritty tone. Also, I think Zachary Levi is a fairly overlooked actor who always brings lots of charisma and charm to every part he plays.

Shazam! was a lot of fun despite its occasional flaws. This is my favorite DCEU film and is a definite step in the right direction for this “franchise”. Zachary Levi is fantastic as the character, bringing lots of humor and wit, along with some genuine heartfelt moments to his character. Jack Dylan Grazer may have turned in his best performance to date, perfectly bringing almost all of the comedic weight to the film. Mark Strong, who played Dr. Sivana, was good but there were some problems with how his character was written. I felt that his motive was not really well defined and that he just came off as a “power hungry” villain. The subplot with Billy’s foster family was my favorite aspect of the film besides Zachary Levi’s performance. It was very heartfelt and touching and didn’t feel forced at all.

The VFX (visual effects) were hit or miss. Some looked very good but some also looked cheesy. The action scenes (though sparse throughout) were also hit or miss. Some looked cool and were exciting to watch, but others were not as interesting or well edited. The two glaring issues I had with this film however were the film’s score and pacing. The score wasn’t really interesting or cool as opposed to other superhero films like 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The pacing for this film was also a bit inconsistent as well. The first opening minutes dragged on far too long and then the rest of the first and second acts were fast paced, reminding me a lot of an Edgar Wright film. But the third act was what bugged me the most, one long battle that really could have been cut down.

All in all, Shazam is a fun new take on the superhero genre. Though it does have its flaws, many of the positives outweigh the negatives. I am excited to see if DC can continue this streak of superhero films and will be looking forward to the sequel, anticipating that these characters will grow and develop. Go see this if you haven’t already and make sure to stick around after the credits because there are two after credit scenes you should not miss!

Featured Photo: A shot from the trailer (Photo Courtesy of 3.5/5)

By: John Bizub, Staff Writer

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